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"Stop Poppin' That Thang!"

By Rev. Andrena Ingram

January 7, 2013

Before I take it upstairs, I was having a "Soul Train" moment, and scrolling through my timeline. I have been noticing this past year more that quite a few folks have been put in jail for knowingly not disclosing their HIV to others, and others becoming HIV +.

I wish I could say that I am shocked and appalled, but I am not. I remember in Phoenix House (24 yrs ago), finding out that one of the men there had HIV, and admitted during group that he had HIV, and that he was so angry about the woman that gave it to him, that he decided he would do the same thing. He developed a hatred towards women ... and passed it along to any woman he could. The group verbally ate him up for weeks, until he could at the very least, realize and admit that it was wrong for him to do. He was in so much pain. (Which by no means excuses his behavior).

Can I tell y'all something? After being diagnosed, and after getting most of my self-esteem back, I began to date again. (This is YEARS ago -- before I came into ministry, for the edification of those who want to make something out of what I am getting ready to say). I began to date again, and I noticed that guys didn't even care to ask about my status. Once a 'connection' was made, as far as they were concerned: it was "on and poppin'" -- that is, until I disclosed my HIV status. Things slowed down considerably after that. Things came to a halt. Now, I am not saying that to elicit sympathy (another topic for another time), but rather for awareness!

What I am trying to illustrate, is that HIV does not have a 'look'. You can't look at anyone and "see" that they have HIV. Nowadays, you simply can't! The only way to know if you or your partner has HIV, is to get tested!

So, it is imperative if you are sexually active that you protect yourself, by every means necessary. Now, here is where I am supposed to say: "abstinence is the safest sex". And that, my dear ones is true! Some folks would have me say that "marriage" is safe. But we know that is NOT true. Marriage is NOT a "safety measure" against HIV. One would hope so, but there are many married people, who have contracted HIV from their spouse!

I feel badly for the women or men, who have contracted HIV from someone they thought they could trust. I really do. But we need to learn to put the proper "stops" in place, before engaging in any type of sexual behavior that involves another person.

Abstinence is the safest sex. Stop poppin' that thang for every and anybody who tries to tell you "they are safe" ... and "they don't have anything."

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See Also
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Is the Ribbon Enough?

Rev. Andrena Ingram

Rev. Andrena Ingram

Reverend Andrena Ingram (also known as "Pastor Andrena" or "Pastor Ingram") has become a strong advocate for those living in the margins, as she once was. She is an activist in the HIV/AIDS arena, herself living openly and unabashedly with the HIV virus for over 22+ years.

Raised in South Jamaica, New York, Reverend Ingram served seven years of active duty in the U.S. Army. She would later move to the South Bronx, where she attended Transfiguration Lutheran Church with Pastor Heidi Neumark as her pastor and mentor -- empowering her to rise up out of herself and her life challenges, which seemed to her, at the time, insurmountable.

Reverend Ingram is a graduate of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, with a Master of Divinity. She has been the pastor of St. Michael's Lutheran Church on Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa., for the past four years.

Reverend Ingram can frequently be found speaking about HIV/AIDS, encouraging everyone "to know your status, get tested, and be informed." Silence = Death.

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